WILMINGTON, Del. - Two more people suffering from asbestos disease joined the fray over whether an insurer can be held liable for asbestos claims arising from the mining operations of former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. in Libby, Mont., with the claimants filing an adversary complaint April 18 in Delaware federal bankruptcy court seeking a declaration that the protective injunction in the debtor's reorganization plan does not apply to their claims against the insurer (Barbara Hunt, et al. v. Maryland Casualty Company, No.18-50402, D. Del. Bkcy.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on April 20 denied a claimant's motion to dismiss or, alternatively, stay a commercial general liability insurer's lawsuit seeking a declaration as to coverage for an underlying gunshot injury that occurred at a bar that was owned by its insured, finding that the claimant's motion to dismiss for lack of proper service is "a ridiculous waste of time and resources" (Capitol Specialty Insurance Corp. v. Tayworsky LLC, et al., No. 16-11340, S. D. W.Va., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66915).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 17 affirmed a lower federal court's summary judgment ruling that rejected an insurer's lawsuit seeking to recover the $84,511.23 that it paid to its insured after a cargo of batteries that were owned by the insured's customer allegedly incurred damage during transport (New York Marine and General Insurance Co. v. Estes Express Lines, Inc., et al., No. 16-56748, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 9667).
LAS VEGAS - A primary insurer and an excess insurer failed to demonstrate the number of proximate causes and the number of occurrences regarding coverage of a construction defects case against their mutual insured, a Nevada federal judge ruled April 18 (AIG Specialty Insurance Co. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 17-01260, D. Nev., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65198).
SAN FRANCISCO - Even though an employee was tricked into transferring funds to a criminal because of fraudulent, spoofed emails, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 17 found that the direct cause of a seafood company's loss was the authorized employee's action, thus precluding coverage for the loss under the computer fraud provision of a commercial crime insurance policy (Aqua Star [USA] Corp. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, No. 16-35614, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 9660).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A motion by an asbestos liability insurer of former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. to enforce the protective injunction in the debtor's reorganization plan to halt claimants in Montana from pursuing asbestos claims against the insurer should be stayed or dismissed because it is procedurally unsound and untimely, considering that the same issue is about to be decided by the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a claimant told a Delaware federal bankruptcy court on April 17 (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma federal judge on Feb. 20 dismissed an insured's bad faith claim against a health insurer after determining that the insured failed to allege facts supporting his claim that the health insurer's denial of coverage for proton beam radiotherapy was unreasonable (Anthony Woska, et al. v. Health Care Service Corp., et al., No. 17-89, W.D. Okla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26711).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Feb. 20 denied an insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings in its lawsuit seeking a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured against underlying unfair competition claims (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. v. Becton, Dickinson, and Company, No. 17-691, D. N.J, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27847).
AUSTIN, Texas - An insured's suit seeking coverage for property damages caused by a hail storm must be remanded to Texas state court because complete diversity of citizenship does not exist as the insured states a plausible claim for relief against the insurance adjuster, a Texas federal judge said on Feb. 20 (Melvin Nelson v. State Farm Lloyds et al., No. 17-962, W.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26547).
SAN DIEGO - Dismissal of an insured's insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is necessary because her claims were not brought within the applicable statute of limitations and she has failed to show that the limitations period was tolled by the discovery rule, a federal judge in California ruled Feb. 20 in granting an insurer's motion to dismiss (Laurel Davis v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 17-0738, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27045).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Progressive deterioration caused by a chemical reaction and resulting in cracking concrete is not covered under a homeowners insurance policy's "collapses" provision, a Connecticut federal judge ruled Feb. 20 (Bart Zamichiei, et al. v. CSAA Fire & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-739, D. Conn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26956).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 denied an insurer's petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of the California Insurance commissioner's decision to deny its application to increase its homeowners insurance rates (Mercury Casualty Co., et al. v. Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner, et al., No 17-537, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 1242).
NEW YORK - A New York appeals panel on Feb. 20 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an armored car company's insurer has no duty to compensate a freight carrier and its insurer for the loss of a gold jewelry shipment that was transported by its insured (AXA Winterthur Insurance Co. v Transvalue, Inc., et al., No. 4132, 650507/11, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2018 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1154).
TRENTON, N.J. - Two claimants allege in a Feb. 16 complaint filed in the New Jersey federal court that they are entitled to benefits from the New Jersey Property Liability Guaranty Association (NJPLIGA) for injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident involving an unidentified motor vehicle owner and operator (Porfirio Torres, et al. v. New Jersey Property Liability Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 18-02290, D. N.J.).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Evidence concerning the recruitment of patients to a chiropractic clinic that allegedly fraudulently billed Medicare, as well as information showing that participants in the scheme put down large cash payments for expensive automobiles, is relevant, a federal judge in Kentucky ruled Feb. 16 in denying in part a defendant's motion in limine (United States of America v. Claudia Lopez, et al., No. 15-CR-00054-JHM, W.D. Ky., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25818).
CINCINNATI - A federal judge in Kentucky erred when dismissing a count from an indictment charging a pharmacist with aggravated identity theft, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 20, finding that the defendant used the identities of a doctor and patient for the purpose of submitting a fraudulent claim to an insurance company (United States of America v. Philip E. Michael II, No. 17-5626, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3918).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on Feb. 14 granted summary judgment in favor of a disability insurer in a U.S. Army veteran's class action suit alleging that the insurer wrongfully offset disability benefits payable under its policy by disability benefits received from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Marco Martinez v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, No. 16-12154, D. Mass.).
CHICAGO - An employee seeking long-term disability (LTD) benefits effectively waived his right to challenge the untimeliness of the initial denial of his claim as he chose to pursue an appeal first rather than filing suit, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 14 (John Dragus v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, No. 17-1752, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3444).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Lawyers took deposition comments from a medical claims reviewer out of context to create trial and media leverage, Aetna Inc. says in a Feb. 14 response to an announcement that California would investigate the insurer's claims processing.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Reversionary interests in land parcels are property of a reorganized debtor, and an insurer's liquidator is precluded from interfering with those interests, a New York federal bankruptcy judge ruled Feb. 15, ordering transfer of title to the reorganized debtor (In re: Frontier Insurance Group Inc., et al., Chapter 11, No. 05-36877, Benjamin Lawsky v. Frontier Insurance Group LLC, et al., Adv. Pro. No. 14-9022, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy., 2018 Bankr. LEXIS 442).
BOISE, Idaho - An Idaho federal magistrate judge on Feb. 16 lifted a stay against the Idaho Insurance Guaranty Association (IIGA) in a trust bank's coverage dispute but declined to lift a stay and grant a preliminary injunction against an insolvent insurer (Idaho Trust Bank v. BancInsure Inc., et al., No. 12-00032, D. Idaho, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26168).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 denied an excess insurer's petition for writ of certiorari challenging a California appeals court's denial of its motion to compel arbitration of a coverage dispute with a school district over sexual abuse claims (Safety National Casualty Corp. v. Los Angeles Unified School District, No. 17-921, U.S. Sup.)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Feb. 17 approved in a minute order a settlement between Chapter 11 debtors Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. and Hanson Permanente Cement Inc. and the joint scheme administrator for two insolvent British insurers, setting claim values for the debtors in the insurers' run-off proceedings (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK - A life insurer and a private investment firm, which acquired the insurer, unlawfully increased the cost of premiums to recoup costs associated with the acquisition, among other reasons, plaintiffs allege in a Feb. 13 class action filed in a New York federal court (Derek Fan, et al. v. Phoenix Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-01288, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is necessary because the Ninth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals has yet to adopt the "fraudulent misjoinder" standard established by the 11th Circuit, which an insurer argues is the basis for the action's removal to federal court in the first place, a federal judge in California ruled Feb. 13 in remanding the action to state court (Maria I. Delgado v. Primerica Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-3744, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23615).